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Author Topic: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"  (Read 6603 times)

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #120 on: April 12, 2007, 07:34:04 PM »
I was coming back to pick up from where I left off last night, but I want to re-read through some of the latest replies and respond back as best I can.  brb  ;)
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #121 on: April 12, 2007, 08:15:48 PM »
I really do think I'm being fair.  I will patiently hear her out.  But it seems to me that Nat abandoned a conversation we were having in the middle, when I was reading her answers rather patiently (at least by comparison to her opponents here).  Instead, she's taken this new one up, which (AFAIK) doesn't have anything much to do with sexuality but rather with free will, God's relationship to human affairs, etc.  

Miss P,

Thanks for this message.  On the bolded part, you and I are in agreement.  I do apologize for not responding to the gay marriage thread in quite a while.  Truth be told, I simply became overwhelmed by the amount of time (2 hours+ at each sitting) it was taking to type coherent replies in that thread. I wanted to check other areas of the board (especially as decisions rolled in and ASWs kicked in), and I simply let the thread become a low priority for me to check whenever I breezed over my "unread posts."  My intention was not to abandon the thread, but rather to come back to it shortly.  Since then, however, there has been another thread to claim my attention.  (Three guesses which one.... ;)  )  I figured that those truly interested in hearing more about my position on gay marriage and faith in general would follow up with me by PM.  For the handful who have, it's been going well.  I'm even about to begin chatting with another poster by phone, simply because it's going to be a faster way to get to the heart of some issues than me trying to post a treatise every night after I come home from a long day at work. 

All this is to say...I do have answers for you on this issue.  I don't have all the answers, but I do have ideas that I think would shed light on my position on homosexuality and, ultimately, why I do not support the "right" of gays to marry.  You deserve those answers, and I will try my best to share them in a respectful manner.  I realize that this is a subject that means a great deal to you personally, and (for that precise reason) I want to respond when I have the time and the energy to do it wholeheartedly.  If exploring this issue is limited to this board, it will take some time (probably months) for me to be able to get it all out.  I'm willing to do that though.  If you'd like to chat offline (and read in ONE book in about 20 minutes a day) what it would take me hours upon hours to re-type here, we can do that, too.  Then we could use the board to actually "discuss" our thoughts on shared material.  I think that would be more fruitful and productive in the long run anyway, and it would help you meet your stated goal of moving past the surface sooner rather than later.

In a nutshell though, I do concur that you were always very respectful to me in the other threads.  I appreciate that, and it makes it a joy for me to know that we can continue to hear each other out on this board.


Also, with respect to her views on gay marriage, the reason she has been asked that question -- and it wasn't me at first, it was Brer -- is because she repeatedly jumped into conversations that touched on homosexuality in the main thread on BLSD with patently false claims about the history of marriage.  Her apologia for Tim Hardaway's interior homophobia just seemed like the last straw for Brer, and it finally broke the discussion open.  But it's not as if I heard Nat was a Christian and started pressing her on marriage or something.  She raised it several times.  
Just to clarify.  Brer made a comment about the Hardaway debaucle, and my original comment was something along the lines of, "Irrespective of his views on homosexuality, he should know better than this."  Brer responded, and I followed up by saying that it was possible to disapprove of the practice of homosexuality without degrading and disrespecting homosexual people.  For Brer and others, as best as I recall, these seem to be mutually exclusive responses.  For me, it is not at all the case.  (In other words, I don't care how Tim personally feels about homosexuality.  He still does not have the right to deny the dignity of another human being.  He compounded his ignorance by lambasting homosexuals publicly in a way that, as far as I can see, failed to bring anything good to himself or others as a result.  He failed to show the love of God to people that deserve it with no strings attached.  That was the root of my problem with him.) 

I currently work in a close-knit, collegial workplace where 50% of our staff is homosexual, and this does not affect my relationship with them in the least.  (About 1 out of every 3 people at my last job were homosexuals also, including my direct supervisor who still enjoys me enough to invite me into his home for dinner every now and again just to catch up.)   In fact, those that I've become closest to and I have discussions about these very hot-button issues (gay adoption, gay marriage, etc.) all the time.  I endeavor to show a tremendous amount of respect to them throughout all the talks, and they reciprocate.  I have simply grown accustomed to talking issues out like adults, and I have a low tolerance for namecalling and insults because we disagree.  I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I have come to realize that is indeed possible (with God's help) to treat people the way you think Jesus would.  That's my goal, whether I am discussing the issue face-to-face or on this webboard. 

When pressed as to what reasoning I could give for restricting marriage to heterosexuals, it became necessary to introduce the basis of my view of marriage.  Having come to believe that there is indeed credible, compelling evidence for a Creator....and having personally encountered Him in my own life in a way that has me forever changed...it has become clear to me that there is a great plan and design for everything -- including our gender, our sexuality, marriage, etc.  I tried to explain my position on marriage, and people disagreed.  Some respectfully, some disrespectfully.  I endeavored to respond the same to both....nothing but the facts, as respectfully as I know how, and in a way that left it open to keep the conversation going.  It is a conversation yet unfinished, as you noted, but one still worth having nonetheless.  I will try my best to get back to it, though I'd love to be able to pick up some steam with others who are interested by moving beyond me typing nightly essays.   :D   (I liken these posts to trying to teach criminal law by message board.  Sure, we could try.  But it'd be much simpler if we just read from the same book and then came back and discussed the cases here.  In some ways, God is on trial here, not me.  To the extent that I realize this, the more willing I am to keep coming back day after day in the hopes that even one person will be curious enough to see if this God I talk about is real enough, big enough, and powerful enough to capture his/her attention and win his/her affection, too.)  Anywho, just wanted to share that and clarify that post because you brought it up.  Just for the sake of my sanity, I'm not going to address the gay marriage issue in this thread directly because I'd be chasing too many rabbits and doing less justice to both subjects in the process.

Let's keep the conversation going!   Thanks.  :)
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #122 on: April 12, 2007, 09:09:05 PM »

Today I saw the glory and the power of God in the exoneration of the 3 Duke lacrosse players; God freed them from their captors and ended the injustice they were suffering.

how is this statment (substantively speaking) any different from what Nat said about god and slavery?

This is a fair question.  It gets to the heart of what I mean when I say "glory" to God.  Is this just religious jargon...Christianese, so to speak...or does this mean something?  Is it really true that God can be glorified by some things we do, and not glorified by others?  In some ways, this is related to the more basic questions of what do "good" and "evil" mean.  I think we may be able to touch on answers to this question as this thread develops and perhaps, as we explore some interesting reads together if you'd like.

Here's the short answer (which will probably not be short, knowing me, but I'm going to try....)

Glory, in the sense that I'm trying to use it, comes from the Greek word doxa and it comes from a word with a base meaning of "the awesome light that radiates from God's presence and is associated with his acts of power, honor, praise, speaking of words of excellence, and assigning highest status to God."  (That's a mouthful of a definition, and I didn't make it up or even have it memorized.  I have a pretty detailed concordance that is helpful for looking up a specific word in the Bible, then going back and comparing it to that exact word as translated from Hebrew/Aramaic in the OT or Greek in NT.) 

The way I think of it -- giving God glory is simply to do, say, think, and be that which gives Him his highest status.  In other words, it's what we are doing when we allow God to be shown and recognized for who He really is.  (All of this probably sounds strange until we settle on the issue that there even is a God and then prove that He is good, but again, that's something that really can be explored using the principles of logic and what we know from human experience.  But I digress...)  So when we do the  things that honor God, praise God, and radiate something of His character to the world around us -- God is glorified.  Not because He "needs" us to do that for Him, but rather we so desperately need it.  For when we are glorifying God, we are actually better off because of it.  Why?  First, we fulfill the purpose for which we were created in the first place, in His image and after His likeness; we are supposed to be reflections of Him to one another.  Doing so blesses us and others, and this is the essence of true love anyway.  Even more importantly, however, glorifying God allows us to know more of Him, to experience another side of Him, to go deeper in Him, to see Him and ourselves more clearly in the light of His glory.  See, if there is a God, you can be sure that He is so vast and huge and wonderful that it is impossible for us (as finite beings) to fully comprehend Him, to fully understand Him, to fully take all of Him into ourselves.  That's why our faith is supposed to be more of a journey than a guilt trip.  Just like in human relationships, learning to live in a way that brings God glory allows us to be more intimate with Him, more real with Him, more accustomed to Him, enjoy Him, and dare I say, fall in love with Him.  The God of the Bible is a relational one, and His desire for us to glorfiy Him is really just a call for us to be in the relationship that will bring us to the place of our true happiness and fulfillment -- the place we are secretly searching for all along (that greatest good, so to speak.)  Interestingly enough, when we do this -- all the relationships in our lives come into order and balance.  Receiving God's love and loving Him back with our whole hearts is a necessary precondition to being able to love other people.  (And I don't mean "wishy washy" feelings of love, or erotic love, or brotherly love.  There's a time and a place for all those things.  What we humans have a tough time with is Godly love -- what the Greeks call agape, and which looks very different from the way we treat one another on a regular basis.  (Our selfishness usually just keeps getting in the way of truly preferring another over ourselves in the way that would reveal God's character in that very situation!)

So the question has been asked -- Did the abolition of slavery glorify God?  Certainly!!!!  It affirms the dignity and worth that people have if for no other reason than the fact that they are indeed God's.  People belong to God.  Men belong to God.  Women belong to God.  Children belong to God.  Unborn babies belong to God.  Elderly people on the edge of life belong to God.  The disabled belong to God.  They are HIS design, the work of HIS hands, and the apple of HIS eye.  (He said it first! :P)  Slavery, as it almost goes without saying, is a gross injustice to people who belong to God.  Allowing people the freedom to live with dignity, receive the name that God has given them, enjoy the fruits of their own labor, steward their own families, own their own property, create wealth, pass an inheritance on from genernation to generation, and develop their God-given gifts and talents to their fullest potential in a way that uniquely reflects God back to the watching world -- this is God's will for every man, from every tribe, nation, and tongue.  It is man who interfered with this plan.  Slavery was a great evil that interferes with God's plan for humanity in every one of the ways that God has expressly stated is His will for our lives.  It is an affront to God and man that has been perpetrated by men throughout history on those from many groups, not the least of whom were Africans in this nation.  Yes, I said, evil because there was indeed an absence of a good that ought to have been there in its place.  So when God moved on the hearts of enough men and women--black and white, old and young, slave and free, Christians or other faiths--to finally do the right thing and bring justice to an oppressed people, He was glorified.  We saw more of His perfect will for humans and the way they were to relate to each other and to Him being released into the earth.  To the extent that this justice has or has not been fully actualized has again been in great proportion to the number of people actively resisting doing the very things that God commands of them.

As to the duke rape case, I do not have all the details of the case, and I have honestly not followed any of the press coverage.  From what little bit I do know, here is the best answer I can give to date:

Was God glorified when a woman....precious in His sight, knit together in her mother's womb by His own tender hand, with a destiny and a future in Him that is bright and glorious and handpicked just for her...felt she had no other option than to sell her body (which the Bible said Jesus Himself redeemed through the cross) and exploit her sexuality to provide for herself and her family?  No.  Plain and simple.  This did not reveal God in a way that brings honor and praise to Him, His Word, and the work He wants to do in her life. 

Was God glorified when young men...precious in God's sight, knit together in their mothers' wombs, designed to know God intimately and walk in His great plan for their lives...made a choice to dishonor a woman, refused to guard the purity of their own hearts, cultivated impure thoughts, and sexually exploited a woman (that they neither respected or loved as much as God did) in word and/or deed?  No.  Plain and simple.  This did not reveal God in a way that brings honor and praise to Him, His Word, and the work He wants to do in their lives.

Because God was dishonored in both their cases, does it mean that the situation is completely then?  Not exactly.  The story doesn't have to end there.  See, the love of God makes people whole again.  And while the situation itself did not bring Him glory, my hope and indeed, my trust, is that the ultimate glory of God will be revealed in the situation one day.  One thing I know, life can never be just the same for any of the parties involved.  God has a way of using the "stuff" we deal with to shake people us of complacency, to open our eyes to the futility of life apart from Him, and to find a way to bring us to a place of recognizing our need for Him.  I know this because it happened to me.  God speaks to all of us through the events and circumstances of our lives; we decide, however, just how we will respond. 
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #123 on: April 12, 2007, 09:19:33 PM »
(I had to cut and paste the end because I went over the limit...this is the last part of my response to Forest Crunk)

So, not knowing any more than I know about the case, I can't really comment on the verdict.  My hope is that our legal process protected the rights of both sides and found the judgment that was fair and true given the weight of the evidence.  This I know would honor God because He is supremely concerned with justice, fairness, and righteousness (or right standing) in our relationships with one another.  One other thing I do know is that there is a higher court than the one these young men and woman have already faced.  And in that place, I know that God is standing able and willing to erase the guilt and stain of this situation from their hearts and minds, clean them up from the inside out, and give them a second chance to go back out to face the world with a clean, renewed heart and a right perspective.  God is always knocking at the door of people's hearts, and I hope that there are people in position to speak into the lives of these young people in a way that helps them recognize this option.  People I know have been praying that for both sides, and I know that God answers prayers.  For those that accept His offer, I have no doubt that the glory of the Lord will be revealed in their lives.  Besides, all of us Christians are at best broken vessels, but the light and glory of the Lord finds a way to shine through the cracks and spill out into the lives of those He wants to use us to touch.


Those are just my initial thoughts.  I hope they were clear.  Let me know.   :)
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #124 on: April 12, 2007, 09:22:01 PM »
Sorry, I couldn't get to more people tonight, but I will try again tomorrow/this weekend.  I'm going to peruse the rest of the board for a bit and make some dinner as well.  Good night, everyone!
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Astro

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #125 on: April 12, 2007, 09:34:42 PM »
I rest my case.
J, if you didn't bring enough penis for everyone, you shouldn't have brought any penis at all. 

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #126 on: April 12, 2007, 10:01:49 PM »

This is a fair question.  It gets to the heart of what I mean when I say "glory" to God.  Is this just religious jargon...Christianese, so to speak...or does this mean something?  Is it really true that God can be glorified by some things we do, and not glorified by others?  In some ways, this is related to the more basic questions of what do "good" and "evil" mean.  I think we may be able to touch on answers to this question as this thread develops and perhaps, as we explore some interesting reads together if you'd like.

Here's the short answer (which will probably not be short, knowing me, but I'm going to try....)

Glory, in the sense that I'm trying to use it, comes from the Greek word doxa and it comes from a word with a base meaning of "the awesome light that radiates from God's presence and is associated with his acts of power, honor, praise, speaking of words of excellence, and assigning highest status to God."  (That's a mouthful of a definition, and I didn't make it up or even have it memorized.  I have a pretty detailed concordance that is helpful for looking up a specific word in the Bible, then going back and comparing it to that exact word as translated from Hebrew/Aramaic in the OT or Greek in NT.) 

[snip]

Hi nat

Just wondering:  If I understand you correctly, you mean that men are free to do good acts if they so choose and when they do, it serves to glorify god.  So in a limited sense, God himself isn't required for the good acts; the men performing them do them by their own free will.  Men would also be performing bad acts of their own free will.  We're given a choice to sin or to not sin, and we must make that choice on our own.

When you say,

So when God moved on the hearts of enough men and women--black and white, old and young, slave and free, Christians or other faiths--to finally do the right thing and bring justice to an oppressed people

I assume you mean that God moved into their hearts because they did the right thing; not that God moved into their hearts and made them do the right thing.  I might be misinterpreting you completely so please correct me if I am, but this distinction seems vital if we're to maintain free will.


So, again if I'm interpreting correctly, we have:  God is glorified when we do good; and We choose to do good by our own free will.

Today, we clearly see that emancipation was a great good.  But was it so clear 150 years ago?  Certainly some men then were uncomfortable with the practice of owning other men, but not all were.  Some were willing to go to war and die over the issue.  The issue was undecided, and as you say, god moved into the hearts of some men who finally did the right thing.  We see the same in many long-practiced injustices.  Women were eventually given the right to vote, etc.

So how do we know at any given moment that we're doing the good that, in your language, glorifies god?  Might we be doing things today that eventually will require change, require some men to glorify god by doing the right thing by bringing justice to more people?  I have to assume we are.  We are human.  We are fallible.  We can't see the greater scheme of all things.  But we do have free will and we can observe our surroundings to the limits of our minds and senses.  It seems foolish to presume we've seen god's plan to perfection.  It seems wiser to maintain constant vigilance; when we spot an injustice, then, we should glorify god by attempting to right it.

Please let me know if I'm misinterpreting you completely.

Thanks.




edit to add:

"Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side."
--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

obamacon

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #127 on: April 13, 2007, 12:06:20 AM »

obamacon

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #128 on: April 13, 2007, 08:10:24 AM »
Qui Ju: we don't tolerate the "I have a black friend argument!" from those of breadboy's ilk.  Why should we accept it from her?

Sadly, it's the best accepted (and it barely qualifies anymore) answer to the charge of insensitivity we {and I do mean we as even liberals are losing their once impervious defenses) have.

Miss P

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Re: Spin-off Thread of "What's Your Favorite Thing About USA"
« Reply #129 on: April 13, 2007, 08:12:49 AM »
Qui Ju: we don't tolerate the "I have a black friend argument!" from those of breadboy's ilk.  Why should we accept it from her?

Sadly, it's the best accepted (and it barely qualifies anymore) answer to the charge of insensitivity we {and I do mean we as even liberals are losing their once impervious defenses) have.

I always thought it was a rather laughable response, frankly.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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